Welcome to our New York City Photo Gallery. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is home to 12 influential arts organizations, making it the largest performing arts complex in the United States.
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (also simply known as Lincoln Center) is a 16.3-acre (6.6-hectare) complex of buildings in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City. It has thirty indoor and outdoor facilities and is host to 5 million visitors annually. It houses nationally and internationally renowned performing arts organizations including the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera, and the New York City Ballet. Juilliard School of Music also became part of the Lincoln Center complex.
A consortium of civic leaders and others led by, and under the initiative of, John D. Rockefeller III built Lincoln Center as part of the "Lincoln Square Renewal Project" during Robert Moses' program of urban renewal in the 1950s and 1960s. Respected architects were contracted to design the major buildings on the site, and over the next thirty years the previously diverse working class area around Lincoln Center was replaced with a conglomeration of high culture to please the tastes of the consortium.
Rockefeller was appointed as the Lincoln Center's inaugural president in 1956, and once he resigned, became its chairman in 1961. He is credited with raising more than half of the $184.5 million in private funds needed to build the complex, including drawing from his own funds; the Rockefeller Brothers Fund also contributed to the project. Numerous architects were hired to build different parts of the center (see § Architects). The center's first three buildings, David Geffen Hall (formerly Avery Fisher Hall, originally named Philharmonic Hall), David H. Koch Theater (formerly the New York State Theater) and the Metropolitan Opera House were opened in 1962, 1964 and 1966, respectively.
It is unclear whether the center was named as a tribute to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln or for its location in the Lincoln Square Neighborhood. The name was bestowed on the area in 1906 by the New York City Board of Aldermen, but records give no reason for choosing that name. There has long been speculation that the name came from a local landowner, because the square was previously named Lincoln Square. However, property records from the New York Municipal Archives from that time have no record of a Lincoln surname; they only list the names Johannes van Bruch, Thomas Hall, Stephan de Lancey, James de Lancey, James de Lancey Jr. and John Somerindyck. One speculation is that references to President Lincoln were omitted from the records because the mayor in 1906 was George B. McClellan Jr., son of General George B. McClellan, who was general-in-chief of the Union Army early in the American Civil War and a bitter rival of Lincoln's.